By Linda Collins
Fairborn Daily Herald
MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP — The Hustead Fire Department celebrated the arrival of a new state-of-art rescue pumper with a dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Hustead Fire and EMS station, located at 6215 Springfield-Xenia Road.
Hustead Fire Chief Larry Ridenour officially presented the custom-made 2016 Sutphen Pumper to a group of township residents and local firefighter who gathered in the firehouse bay for the special event. Also on hand were Mad River Township Trustee Robert McClure Jr., Green Township Trustee Brian Clem, who is also a Hustead firefighter, retired Hustead Fire Chief Bill Young, Hustead EMS Chief Heather Kaufman, Enon/Mad River Township Deputy Fire Chief Elmer Beard, and Sutphen Corporation Engineer Jason Haulman.
The new pumper, Rescue 49, has the ability to pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute and boasts a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 30-gallon fuel foam tank, and a 1,000-watt hydraulic generator. The six-man cab provides additional space to transport firefighters, and a deck gun mounted on top of the vehicle that can be easily deployed. The fire chief noted that the vehicle was equipped with LED warning lights, and the department would be adding a backup camera system in the near future.
The Sutphen pumper replaces a 30-year-old fire truck, and the fire chief estimates that the new pumper should be in service for at least 30 years.
During the dedication ceremony, Ridenour explained that both Mad River and Green Townships provided the funding for the $446,000 Sutphen vehicle and thanked township voters for passing the operating levies that provided the necessary funding to purchase the new apparatus. The fire chief also expressed his gratitude to Haulman and other Sutphen representatives who were always friendly and helpful when the fire chief paid weekly visits to the Sutphen manufacturing facility during the 90-day construction process.
“We are an all-volunteer fire department, and we do not get paid,” Ridenour said. “We do this out of dedication and respect for the townships. Therefore, I also want to thank our firefighters for always answering the call to duty.”
According to Ridenour, the fire department economized by using all the hoses, nozzles, air packs, and most of the hand tools that were used on the old rescue pumper.
Following Ridenour’s remarks, the Hustead firefighters pushed the new apparatus into the firehouse, a fire service tradition that dates back to the 19th century.
“The ‘Push-In Ceremony’ first began in the early 1800’s and is the ceremonial placing of a new fire truck in-service in its firehouse,” Ridenour said. “This tradition evolved from the days when firefighting vehicles were horse drawn buggies. When returning to the station from a call, the horses could not back-up so the firefighters unhitched the horses and led them to their stables. The fire engine then would have to be hand pushed into the station so it would be ready for the next call.”
Young, who served as Hustead Fire Chief for 60 years, said fire departments throughout the country are faced with rising sticker prices when replacing fire trucks. He pointed out that a fire truck, which was purchased from a welding shop in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1970, cost $20,500; and a pumper that was bought from Sutphen Corporation in Montgomery, Alabama in 1996 came with a $124,000 price tag.
“We also bought a truck from Sutphen for $94,000 and purchased Engine II in 1986 for just $86,000,” Young added.
Ridenour told township residents that the new Sutphen pumper was placed into service last week.
“We used Rescue 49 for the very first time when we were dispatched to an illegal burn. I must say it is near perfect. The only complaint I have about the new pumper is the seatbelt buckles,” Ridenour said with a chuckle.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.